What: Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen Eroica Gold Columbia Valley $20
Where: Esquin Wine and Spirits, Metropolitan Market Kirkland, Fred Meyer Ballard QFC Crossroads, Whole Foods Interbay
Why: When are rotting wine grapes a good thing? More often than you might think. Botrytis cinerea, often referred to as Noble Rot, is a fungus that shrivels wine grapes, concentrating flavors and adding complexity. Some of the finest sweet wines in the world, including sauternes and certain styles of German riesling, are notable for their use of botrytis.
A delicious example from our home state that employs botrytis is the 2013 Chateau Ste. Michelle and Dr. Loosen Eroica Gold Riesling Columbia Valley ($20). Eroica is a partnership between Chateau Ste. Michelle—the world’s largest producer of riesling—and Germany’s Dr. Loosen, which has produced riesling for over two centuries. The project consistently produces some of the finest rieslings in the state, with styles ranging from just off dry to dessert sweet.
The 2013 Eroica Gold is medium sweet in style. The flavors are rich and honeyed, a hallmark of botrytis, with orange marmalade and citrus aromas and flavors. It’s a perfect pairing with spicy Asian fare. Rotten never tasted so good.